Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #826
I read a lot of comics. A lot of comics. And for some 40 years, I’ve become used to the serialized comic book story. Marvel may have been the first to regularly utilize the form when they started producing epics in the mid-’60s like the tale of the Master Planner (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33) or the original Galactus saga (Fantastic Four #48-50). Big stories needed more than a single issue. And pretty soon, every comics story was a Big Story. Anyway, my point is that for a very long time, standalone stories told in a single issue of a comic have been few and far between. So in this age of graphic novels, when I come across one — and a damn fine one at that — there’s reason to celebrate.
Thanks to a recent recommendation by Dr. Hook at the SciFiDig podcast, I finally caught up yesterday with Detective Comics #826, released last December. If you’ve forgotten how a terrific comics story can be told in just 22 pages, you’ve gotta pick up this issue, which may still be readily available at your local comics retailer (thankfully, it was at mine). The story is called “Slayride,” and it’s really a Robin yarn; Batman doesn’t make an appearance until, well, the last page. Featuring the Joker at his most terrifying, the tale is by turns amusing, nail-biting, and shockingly violent. And it’s a wonderfully satisfying bit of graphic storytelling. “Slayride” is written by Paul Dini, creator of Harley Quinn and a producer and writer for most of the great Warner Bros./DC Comics animated series. Don Kramer and Wayne Faucher provide the artwork. Being such a short piece, I won’t spoil it for you by revealing any of the plot. But I will say that it’s a holiday story you won’t soon forget.
Comic book fans, take note.